5 Things I wish people knew about living with Diabetes…

Let’s get right to it. Diabetes is difficult. Like, really difficult. It can be managed, yes. However, the emotional, physical, and mental state this illness can leave you in is pure craziness. One minute you’re completely in control and then you eat something, or go for a jog, or start stressing about the new promotion at work and then bam! You’re on a full blown diabetes roller coaster you never asked to be on.

This illness is hectic, tedious, and unruly. Even on the days you have massive control it isn’t because you were carefree. It takes patience beyond measure, commitment, and a whole lot of will power. I’m not speaking for everyone but my personal relationship with diabetes is a love hate one. I hate it, and it loves to hate me right back. The scars left behind by depression, anxiety, and just an overall fear of all the what if’s is enough to make a person want to scream. This illness is no joke, even though I try to make light of living with it. I do this because if I don’t laugh, even just a little, I would live in a funk.

So I’ve compiled five things I wish people knew about living with type one diabetes.

  1. I wish people knew that even though I am smiling on the outside, inside I am always freaking out. Are my numbers alright? I feel weird, why? I’m so thirsty…is my glucose high? What if I pass out from a low glucose and it’s just me and my kids? Why was my A1c so high? What am I doing wrong? I am constantly having to stay a few steps ahead of diabetes or it will catch me and make sure I fall hard. The truth is that Diabetes is a monster. It doesn’t care about anything.
  2. I wish people knew that it takes so much to stay in control of this. Maybe I make this look easy but it is far from it. Just thinking about being in charge of a drug that could potentially kill me is kind of a mind explosion. I’m not a doctor and yet I have to administer this drug to myself daily. Of course with out it I could die. So there really isn’t a grey area. I either do what I have to or I’m gone.
  3. I wish people knew that I didn’t do this to myself. None of us woke up one day asking to be diabetics. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. The fear alone of what could happen, or what is inevitable, is depressing. It can eat away at your sanity if you let it. I could fall asleep and never wake up. I could go into a coma. One day my kidneys could go on a permanent vacation, I know quite a few diabetics on dialysis already. Organs can decide not to work. I mean the list goes on. Not to mention I could lose feeling in my feet. People have had to get fingers, toes, even limbs amputated because of the havoc this disease creates. Why wouldn’t I have prevented myself from getting this illness if I could have? No one asks for this. It happens and we deal but I wish people understood that. Sugar didn’t do this to me. Cake wasn’t my enemy. It just happened.
  4. I wish people knew that even when I complain I’m never giving up. I can’t. It’s a real fight or flight kind of thing. You can either embrace it, run with it, and do your very best. Or you can let it take over your entire being until you’re consumed by it. Love and support from family and friends can go a long way. Every little encouraging thought, note, hug, whatever it may be, means the world to us. I know to me it does. If I didn’t have my support system who knows where I would be. I have met plenty of diabetics not caring about their illness because no one cares about them. What’s the point of fighting when you have no one in your corner.
  5. Lastly, I wish people knew that diabetes doesn’t limit us. I may have to take a few extra steps, precautions, or detours, but I am fully capable of taking this world on with diabetes on my back. We can do anything we put our minds to, with just a little more pizzazz, and a lot of snacks.

What’s something you wish people knew about living with Diabetes?

The Exercising Diabetic.

reasons-your-fat-isn-rsquo-t-melting-despite-working-out5-1451561370

Though I’d like to think I’m quite an athlete the truth is that I’m far from it. Far, far, far from it. There isn’t an athletic bone in this body. I have come to terms with it and it’s perfectly acceptable for you to do the same. Instead what I do have are let’s-workout-here-and-there-for-diabetes-sake bones in my body. I realize the positive effect exercising has on my blood glucose levels but I also realize just how difficult it can be to create the perfect scenario for my diabetes to thrive.

Even though I’m back on the workout grind it has definitely taken a while. The frustrating part of striving to be a healthier me was that, without fail, I would gear up and head out on my walks, or whatever regimen I had planned out, and my numbers would be stable. Then they would slowly start to climb. Skyrocketing by the end of my workout. This was supposed to make me feel great, healthy, and in charge. When in reality I was feeling, drained, defeated, and ready to throw in the towel. Some days were the complete opposite. Dropping so low in the middle of sweating it out that I would have to eat something substantial to get back up to normal.

Color me beyond frustrated. So frustrated in fact that I convinced myself that I was happy with the way I looked, the miserable way I felt, and the way diabetes and I interacted. Like two feuding exes not really wanting to be in the same room as one another but playing nice and being cordial because that’s what adults do.

Then it hit me. One day I woke up and I realized that health isn’t something to take for granted, it’s something that needs to be worked at. You’re blessed with an amazing system in the beginning but it’s entirely your duty to maintain it. Sometimes illness happens, or life happens, and the healthy points start ticking down. But we are in charge, nonetheless, of our overall healthiness. Not anyone else. So I decided it’s time to take responsibility for my poor choices, and somewhat horrible habits, and have begun getting myself into gear. I’ve started kicking my own butt. Not literally of course. But I set myself goals. Small ones for easy victories that would give me the continued confidence I needed and now I am starting on those long term ones. Goals that after they’ve been completed make you feel really, and truly accomplished. Baby steps are still steps. Progress should always be something to be proud of. I’m starting there and working my way up.

It’s not an easy road. And this doesn’t mean I have suddenly developed those “athletic” bones. But I am working on a better me. A healthier me so that I can continue to be a mom, a diabadass, and everything in between.

How do you stay in charge of your diabetes and overall health?

The Diabetic Mom.

It’s weird to think I’ve been a type one diabetic almost as long as I’ve been a mom. My first pregnancy followed very closely to my diagnosis and it became a whirlwind of overwhelming emotions. I hadn’t really grasped what being a type one diabetic meant but I was going to have to figure it out quickly because it wasn’t going to be affecting just me. I was going to have a baby bump roommate who would be experiencing the roller coaster that is this illness right along with me. Needless to say it was a stressful time, happy, but stressful nonetheless. The beginning of motherhood, along with my diabetes journey, would cause me such anxiety I wondered often what kept me going. Aside from the beautiful, bouncing, baby girl smiling up at me. I prayed for strength and wisdom. He only gives us what we can handle but there were definitely times I was left feeling like the weight of the world were on my shoulders.

Thankfully I made it out of that worrisome time with a beautiful, smart, and perfectly healthy daughter, valuable knowledge to combat the tediousness that diabetes can bring daily, and a sense of humor. Because at the end of the day if you can’t laugh about it, even just a little, then life is going to be one big ball of yuck.

So I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss with you some things I’ve learned about myself, this disease, and motherhood, and how it’s shaped my view on life.

So let’s jump in…

The connective line between all three is me. If I am not on my game and doing my best then everything falls a part, not always drastically, but I have found that things don’t run as smoothly as they could be when I am in a funk. In the equation of life it is fundamental to remember you and your health. Whether that be mental, physical, or emotional. Doing what you can to ensure you’re at your tip top shape in those categories is key. Exercising, taking time to treat yourself, or even venting with someone in your support system, can all be ways to rejuvenate you and your health.

A technique I’ve used when I start feeling any sort of frustration, diabetes burn out, or insecurity in my parenting, I write it all out. Every single thing bothering me, I write it out, removing it from my thoughts and the fabric of me and then I crumble it up. I rip it to shreds. It doesn’t necessarily remove the “issue” but it gives me visual gratification that I am in control of the situation. Even when it doesn’t feel that way.

Alongside all of that it’s important to remember that we aren’t alone in this. Our friends, our family, and even our coworkers, are right there with us. They are ready and willing to be a shoulder, a comforting conversation, a useful resource for almost everything going on in our lives. The thing about parenting and diabetes is that neither one are easy. Each one comes with their own set of aspirations, frustrations, victories and failures, but not one of them have be done alone. Take the time to gather yourself up and allow your trusted confidants to take the wheel sometimes.

And above all else. Be gentle with you. Because you really are doing your best.

 

Please don’t fail me now!

My posts lately have been sort of thoughtful, sort of focused on family life, and motherhood. I hadn’t touched really on how diabetes has been treating me, or rather how I’ve been treating my diabetes. The truth is we aren’t friends and we never will be. I despise this disease and everything that comes along with it. I hate that I am almost thirty and having to think about my own mortality sooner than I feel I should. I am having to sit and think about every single thing I eat, or drink, and how it’s going to affect me. I am having to be my own pancreas which doesn’t sound bad until you realize all that the position entails. Constant finger pokes and blood drawls. Constant site changes and a body that has been beaten and abused by this illness. The constant fear of what could be, or what will be, no matter what I do.

Recently I was faced with the fact that sooner then later I might have to deal with kidney issues. Twice now I have had protein spill into my urine and now my endocrinologist is concerned. Now we have to monitor, now we have to discuss being proactive when, not if, we cross that bridge. And I don’t know about you and how you deal with news like this but it’s gotten to me, it’s depressing, it’s made me feel helpless. I don’t have the time or the energy for all of this crap but I have to find it. Because if I don’t get in control of this situation some how, some way, it’s me that suffers. And my family. That’s one thing I regret more than anything, having my family involved in this vicious disease. They are apart of it whether they want to be or not and that pisses me off more then anything. If I could bear the brunt of it all by myself, I would. If my sickness didn’t make them sad, or worry, or upset. Then I could deal with all of this. But I can’t shield them from it anymore then I can shield myself. And that’s another difficult pill to swallow.

I’m trying to  be positive. We aren’t talking dialysis, we aren’t figuring out medication yet, but we are monitoring and to me that’s just the start. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Treatable, sure. I am currently taking medication for that. But I still felt like, why? Why do I have to deal with this, too? All of this has caused me to take a step back and reevaluate my health and what I need to do to improve it the best I can. I need to push back these complications for as long as possible because I am not going out like that. I am a fighter. I am a beast. I am a mom, and I have better things to be doing.

Recently I’ve started working out again. Being selective with food choices. And overall continuing to show this disease that I am in charge. Nothing is going to take me down unless I let it and that is not the kind of person I am. I don’t back down when I am put in a corner. Diabetes might be tough, but I’m tougher.

So to all you champions out there. Wear that smile and wear it proudly.

 

When life happens..

I’ve been away for awhile but I am hoping to be back at it now.

Did ya miss me?

With the birth of my son almost ten months ago a lot was going to be changing, myself, my family, life in general. Having another little one around plus trying to keep up with everything else that had already been in my life was kind of an obstacle for me. I nearly crumbled trying to get things, life, everything in order. I am a very organized person, to an extent, and the birth of my son, though joyous and exciting, brought about new scheduling, new dynamics, new routines.

I put a lot of my life on hold so I could try and figure things out. This blog was one of the pieces of me I had to set aside until I sorted the details out. Life isn’t perfect but it’s slowly getting there.

Updates on everything:

My oldest has started second grade and absolutely loves it. She thrives in the school setting. I adore that about her. I hated school when I was younger. My favorite subjects were reading and writing. Couldn’t I do that in the comforts of home? She’s made so many friends and has even gone to a few sleepovers. (That was harder on me then her, I’m sure!) Recently she discovered her love of Nancy Drew and though she still really wants to be a diabetic doctor she’d like to do side work as a detective. She amazes me everyday with her love and compassion. I am truly blessed. She’s also flourished as a big sister. I was worried she’d feel left out or kicked to the side once a new baby entered the picture but she’s been a wonderful helper and so loving towards this little guy. It’s beautiful.

My littlest bundle of love is going to be ten months on the fourth and I am in aw of everything he does. They grow up so fast and if I could slow time for even just a few minutes I would. He has three teeth, eats everything in sight, smiles whenever I walk into the room, has taken three steps unassisted, loves to torment the family cat, gives the sweetest hugs and kisses, and is so intrigued by the way things work. He’s so very different than the way my oldest was at the very same age. It’s just as incredible this second time around watching all his firsts. When I had my oldest I thought there was no possible way I could ever love someone as much as I loved her and then my son was born and I realized that my heart was split in two and I couldn’t imagine my life without these two kids. Again, feeling blessed.

My husband and I embarked on our own adventure aside from parenting. He was offered a better paying position with another company and so after working at his last job for almost eight years he said goodbye so that we could start another exciting chapter in our life. I quit my part time job at Target so that I could be home for/with the kids and so far things have been great. Slightly stressful at times but still awesome. It was nice getting out of the house every couple of days but I actually feel relieved, happy, about this change. Being home with the kids, focusing more on the home, and my own personal health, has been amazing. We’ve finally figured out a routine, that is sure to change again soon, but it works for us and that’s what really matters. At the end of the day I know we are exactly where we’re supposed to be.

Some of you may or may not know I also care for my brother who has mild MR. He’s older but at times can feel like my younger brother. When he first moved out here in 2012 we had no idea what we were getting into. It started out rough but I am so happy and proud of where we’ve come. Mostly how far he’s come along. Not so shy, has a gf, works and makes his own money. He is a completely different person from where he started so long ago. Sometimes we bump heads, sometimes I get frustrated but when I see how happy he is to feel like he is “normal” (whatever that means because none of us are actually normal, haha) it makes all the struggles we’ve had worth it.

Diabetes wise, I am still doing the MDI. It’s been sort of empowering. Yes, I am diabetic but I am not ashamed to “shoot up” in public. I am doing what I need to do to be healthy and haters gonna hate no matter what. Once in awhile I notice a look here and there but they don’t know any better. If they knew the everyday struggles of this disease I know they wouldn’t look so disturbed. One conversation at a time and soon enough everyone will be educated. I am feeling well, some days I get distracted by the kids and I’ll forget a shot here and there but other than that I have never felt better.

Overall life was hectic but I finally feel like we are getting somewhere. We are no longer stagnant and it’s glorious feeling like we have purpose again. Like I have purpose again. I am seeing the hard work of the past years finally paying off and the joy is overwhelming. So hopefully you’ll be seeing me around these parts more often.

I hope things are well with you mu friends. Smile big.

smile big

With or without you.

India ink on paper 11" x 14" 2009

I hadn’t realized how fast time was flying by. I will have been on my insulin pump and CGM dexcom for about a year and a half now. I have loved and hated every second with these devices. At first the pump was amazing. I thought often about how I had been doing this diabetes thing all wrong. I was doing myself a disservice by not investigating these things sooner. The CGM helped me sleep through the nights with ease, unless I was high/low then it was a bit annoying, but I felt confident in myself and in my diabetes management. Having these tools made me feel almost invincible. I could be discreet and still manage to care for myself properly. My numbers were great and all through out my pregnancy I knew that I was doing everything in my power to keep not only myself happy and healthy but also my little man, too.

Until suddenly these once amazing gadgets started feeling like a burden. Until suddenly I felt annoyed with having these pods and sensors constantly stuck to my body. I was loathing site changes and overall I noticed myself ignoring the beeps and warnings which meant I was also ignoring my diabetes. So I took a step back, which has actually ended up being a step forward..funny how that works, and I am back on MDI (manual daily injections) and guess what it didn’t blow up the space time continuum. I am still standing and still going strong.

In an amazing reality check I realized that I can still manage my diabetes with or with out the fancy stuff. My numbers have been surprisingly exceptional and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the pump. Who knows though. I’ve learned that if you aren’t willing to try new ways to take care of this disease it will consume you, this mundane beast will make you lock it in a closet until you just don’t care anymore. I don’t want that to happen because it’ll mean I don’t care about myself. So, for now, I am doing MDI and using my CGM to help me through the days and nights.

If we’re being honest with one another I am happy with this decision. Hopefully I continue to feel this way for awhile.

Someone asked me if I recommended an insulin pump and I said that in the beginning I would have but now I say, really evaluate the decision. Consider every option and understand exactly what you are getting into. I feel like insulin pumps are amazing, wonderful tools, when used correctly. The only device I will continuously stand behind is the CGM, that is truly a life saver, insulin I can get either way I choose, but the piece of mind that comes with wearing the dexcom is undeniable.

Are you an insulin pumper? Do you CGM?

Ever just need a break? or are you someone considering a pump? I hope I haven’t given you the wrong message, if you decide the pump is for you, trust me, you’ll go far. My only advice in writing this is to make sure you figure out if it really suits you and I hope you’ll consider all your options. At the end of the day it is your health that matters the most.

Now, don’t forget to smile. It’s a beautiful day.

Food for thought.

gossip-image

I overheard a conversation the other day about a woman and her type one diabetic cousin. She was complaining about the audacity of her cousin wanting to have children. She exclaimed, with a tone of utter disgust, that her cousin already had two, why did she need more than that? I refrained from jumping in because I felt it wasn’t my place..or was it?

I was overwhelmingly upset about the comments. In a conversation that only took minutes from start to finish the woman explained that with being diabetic her cousin was causing so much damage to not only herself but her children as well. The other person in this seemingly one sided conversation asked if something was wrong with the cousins children.

“No. Not yet anyway!”

Not yet?

With someone who had such an abundant amount of knowledge about this disease did she not know that plenty of diabetic women have healthy pregnancies as well as perfectly healthy children. I can use myself as an example. Did I always take care of myself and my diabetes, no, but once I was put into a situation where it wasn’t just my life at stake I focused on being the best me, the best diabetic, and the best mom I could be. Life is not with out it’s ups and downs but that doesn’t mean that everything is going to go wrong all of the time. I have had two healthy pregnancies and two healthy children call me mommy. Why shouldn’t the woman’s cousin be allowed to have as many children as her heart desires? So long as her body permits and the doctors are by her side I don’t see a problem.

I certainly don’t understand why it’s anyone’s business.

Or why the woman decided she needed to tell everyone within an ear shot about her diabetic cousin.

Why am I now discussing it? Because I am outraged that people find it necessary to trash talk any woman, but in this particular situation a diabetic woman, and whether or not she should bear children. The topic hits close to home only for the fact that I have been asked why I decided to have children if I knew I was sickly, if i knew there was a chance that my kids could “come down with it..(diabetes)” Why would I put myself and others in danger?

At times I have fully explained myself when I felt as though the questions and comments were coming from a loving and concerned place. However, most of the time these questions can feel like attacks. Like I am being attacked for a disease I never asked for, like I am being attacked for wanting to be a mother despite these uncontrollable circumstances. Is it really alright to just walk up to people and ask them these sort of things? I deserve respect and so did that woman’s cousin. My decisions deserve respect whether you agree or disagree and so do the cousins decisions.

Furthermore I believe that everyone should be educated before even thinking about questioning people and the way they live their lives. People with diabetes, so long as it is managed appropriately, can live very wonderfully and successfully. Nothing is impossible, well except for creating our own insulin, but other than that we can accomplish so much. And diabetic women, specifically to this post, can most definitely have children and as many as they want!

I am not trying to speak for everyone and I am certainly not claiming to know everyone’s situation but I will say this…be careful what you say out loud and ask yourself if you were in their shoes would you feel offended at all, would you welcome criticism with open arms? Or would you want to be respected?

Jumping off my soap box now.

Have you experienced anything like this?